I write to share my experiences. I write because it’s the only way I can synthesize things in my mind. I write because maybe, just maybe, my words can help someone or simply make them feel less alone. When my nine-year-old daughter had a ruptured ovarian cyst, I sat up in the wee hours of the night reading a blog written by a mom who had had a similar experience with her daughter. I love having that me-too feeling when I read a post on Facebook about another mom sharpening 65 pencils or someone searching for a purple plastic folder with metal brads to fulfill the dreaded school supply list. I feel a little bit better when I see other moms posts about that mixed-up feeling of happiness and tears they have on the first day of school when the school bus pulls away. Reading about similar experiences gives me a feeling of camaraderie even if it’s over the invisible waves of the internet.
And I hope that’s what you get when you read my blog or my stories. Many times I err on the side of sharing too much. This summer my posts seem to have been far and few between, many of them seemingly more serious than the normal sharing of crazy kid stories. But sometimes I need to vent and put my thoughts out into this vast electronic world so I can get it off my shoulders and take that deep breath I so desperately need.
Today, on this Sunday afternoon, I find myself trying to feel human after a Mohs procedure that proved to take a greater toll than I had planned on. I have antibiotic drops to clear up the infection in my eyelid and oral antibiotics to assuage the fever that appeared yesterday. But my real problem, the one that doesn’t seem to have a magic panacea, is the way I feel about the all too big wound on my face. It traumatizes me. And I know from the look in the eyes of the people who have seen it, it surprises them too. I’m sad as I look at the photos Justin took one afternoon to try and find a suitable “author” photo. I’m sad because my forehead is front and center and scar free and I know it will be a long time before it looks like that again…if it ever will.
In the grand scheme of life, 25 stitches on your head really shouldn’t matter. Except that we live in a society that places too much value on external beauty. We cover up our blemishes with foundation. We try to diminish our wrinkles and cover our greys. Our magazines are photoshopped to show the ideal look of perfection. My imperfection is hidden under a maxi pad like bandage. And, honestly, it’s easier to handle when it’s hidden.
But it’s the scars, the imperfections, and the wounds in our souls that make us stronger and our stories more colorful. I have friends who have scars internal and external, hidden and not who have faced heroic battles. Their stories make me feel superficial and silly but mostly give me strength when I feel down. Because deep down I know this scar doesn’t make me anymore or less beautiful but when my reflection stares me down, I need my breath and my mind, and my words, to remind me it doesn’t matter.
I share my words today not looking for sympathy or empathy but as a reminder that our stories are important and can help others when shared. Several of you wrote to me the other day and said they were making a doctor’s appointment immediately because of my post and I felt like some good could be gleamed from the whole thing. I share my words with you today in case there’s some mom out there getting ready to have a similar procedure and I want her to know she’s not alone. Part of me is glad I’ve felt so sick because my home feels very safe. But I’m going to do it, I’m going to take my bandaged head out into the world for a little bit this afternoon. I’m going to remind myself that beauty is so much more than what you see at first glance. I’m going to open up my heart a little bit more and share all the love and kindness I feel in my life…and that will make me feel so much better.